Tag Archives: Novel Completion

Did It Really Take Me Twelve Years To Write My Novel?

“The Wedding Planner” was released in Canada on video July 3, 2001. (http://www.dvdsreleasedates.com/movies/2808/The-Wedding-Planner-(2001).html)

It was within a couple of weeks of this date when I rented the movie, had my melt down, and began writing. In the beginning I dallied. It was an idea, nothing more. Every couple of months I would plunk down in front of my computer for a few hours to write. The first good chunk of “Seascape” was written this way, over a two year period.

About this time my husband and I were feeling the pressure from our twelve year-old daughter to provide her with a sibling. We decided if we were going to have another child, it was now or never. The moment my pregnancy took, I was a writer no more. My hormones were not mine, my body was not mine, and writing was the last thing on my mind.

Four years after I had started my story, and almost two years after I put it down, my womanliness resurrected from motherhood. By 2004 I felt a strong push to complete my story. With a teenager playing school sports, a toddler underfoot, a small business to manage, and a husband who worked away from home, it was hard to find the time to write. But like I did with the first half of the book I plugged away at the second half of the book, a few hours here and there, each writing session separated by weeks and sometimes months.

When the first draft was completed I barely breathed before I dove into the editing process. With newly acquired editing skills, I realized I needed to tell the story in the first person perspective. I rewrote the whole manuscript. It took months. I reviewed. I edited the full story again, and finally felt  comfortable sharing my story. My husband was the first reader and editor. I revised again. A dear friend who was also developing interest in writing began to read and critique for me. I revised again.

In 2008 I decided my book needed research to improve it. Nothing on the level of Jane M. Auel, (Clan of the Cave Bear) an author who sifts through tons of archeological research for her books, but I knew I needed to visit Eleuthera. I stretched out on its beaches, travelled its towns and shorelines, and visualized my characters there. My visit was invaluable. “Seascape” would not be the same if I had not made the decision to experience the island myself.

I updated the manuscript yet again after the trip and shared my book with more friends and family, asking for input and critiques. I rewrote and revised. I edited and polished. By 2009 I felt the book was as polished as I could get it. It had undergone 7 full revisions and I felt was ready for agents and publishers. For a couple of years I submitted queries, waited for the rejection letters, and built a home all while my book languished. Finally this last fall, October of 2012, I made a decision to once and for all, decide on the future of “Seascape”. I hired a proffessional editor and did my 8th and final revison.

Upon reflection I know, in fact, it didn’t take twelve years to write my novel. If you gathered all the days together, theoretically, I could have written this book from start to finish in 9 months, give or take a few weeks. But if I had, it wouldn’t be “Seascape”.

If I could go back in time, I would not go back and pick up my pace. Throughout those twelve years I grew as a writer. I learned and studied the craft; I developed and improved both my abilities and the story itself. As my book is undergoing publication I can claim the title of author.  I am a writer, a novelist and I am prepared for the position in ways that I was not twelve years ago. I have the confidence to shape and control my vision. Managing my husband’s small business gave the financial acumen to handle the small business of managing my book. I have a wonderful home office designed for me, by me. My youngest child is old enough I can venture away for book signings without feeling torn from her.

For twelve years, my family, my home, and my husband’s business were greater priorities; writing was my least priority. Recently my priorities have under gone a serious change. Writing is still not my greatest priority, but it has climbed up from the bottom of my list, to being in the top five. Some weeks it is a full-time job, and others it is at the very least a part-time job. I no longer dabble. It is my career. I have invested significant resources and focus in this direction. I have my purpose and I have never been happier.

Next post… The Book Is Done. Now What? Getting Published.